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How Do Millennials Use Their Mobile Devices to Shop?

By Glenn S. Demby, Esq.

Almost all of this year’s TLL Annual Licensing Business Survey respondents used two “M” words, often in the same sentence, when talking about key long-term trends in licensing and retail. And while they said it in different ways, they all made basically the same points:

  • Millennials are the socio-economic group currently wielding the most influence over retail; and
  • Mobile technology is the mechanism they’re using to wield that influence.

So what does it all mean? What exactly are millennials doing with mobile technology? And how are these uses different from the way other generations are using mobile technology to shop?  

A new study examining the shopping behaviors of millennials offers some clues to these questions. The study from retail research firm MobiLens lists the most common shopping-related uses of mobile devices by millennials in Germany and compares them to the frequency “Silver Surfers” engage in those particular uses:

Use of Mobile Device for Shopping, Millennials vs. Silver Surfers
Data Source: comScore MobiLens.
Note: *Born between 1980 and 2000. †Over 55 years old.
Use of Mobile Device for Shopping Millennials* Silver Surfers†
Took a picture of product 23.8% 18.3%
Sent picture of product to family/friends 18.0% 10.4%
Texted or called family/friends about product 14.7% 10.2%
Compared product prices 13.9% 6.0%
Scanned bar code of product 13.2% 11.6%
Researched product features 11.2% 3.4%
Found store location 8.5% 4.1%
Found coupons or deals 7.3% 3.0%
Checked product availability 3.6% 1.8%